Let Me Count the Ways…

October 3, 2017

Let’s say we ask you to list your favorite restaurants. You probably have a few, and your choices reflect what is important to you, right? Maybe the only criterion is how the food tastes (we totally get it!). Or wait, maybe you like that the food is great but that there is great music too! Or maybe, just maybe, your choice is entirely based on the fact that the waiters are super friendly. That’s how most rankings or lists work—they are based on a list of criteria.

Princeton University
By Robert Merkel. From en.wikipedia. (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Last month, U.S. News released its annual list of best colleges. Sounds pretty simple, right? The idea is that for families considering college, this should be a handy guide that helps students decide which one to apply to for further studies. But a list is based on many criteria, and in this case, the criteria are decided by the organization called U.S. News.


Royce Steps at UCLA
By b r e n t (UCLA) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Recently, this list has come under some controversy. Why? Well, according to some critics, the criteria that help decide this list favor the wealthier and popular schools. Some of the factors deciding the school rankings include the reputation of the school (based on a survey of school leaders across the United States) and faculty resources. Critics argue that faculty resources, for example, measure how wealthy a school is. A school that has a lot of money has many more resources than a school that does not; however, students can still thrive and succeed in either school. Test scores are an important criterion in these college rankings too, but critics argue that factors like diversity should be a part of such rankings as well.

What do you think the criteria should be for ranking schools?

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